Preparing for disasters is difficult and can seem overwhelming when you don’t have time to grab the important stuff on your way out the door. A little planning ahead will go a long way in saving the important people and items in your life.
By Joan Whetzel
We hear about them all the time in the news, the stories about people losing their homes, their belongings, their memories in a disaster. These disasters may be created by man (forest fires and home fires from wiring problems or mistakes made by the home’s residents) or they may be natural disasters (flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes). Some of these disasters provide little or no warning – like tornadoes, house fires, and earthquakes – and so there may be no time to save anything important. However, if you had enough time to grab what you could, what would you choose to save?
1. Family and Pets: This is the obvious choice and the most important choice.
2. Photos: This could be the shoeboxes full of memories, photo albums, wedding photos.
3. Documents: birth certificates, death certificates, report cards, marriage license, divorce papers, custody papers, insurance information, social security information. These could be stored in zipper baggies, which will not only keep them dry in weather emergencies, but will keep them collected in like “folders” for easy location.
4. Clothing: Enough for 3 to 7 days.
5. Medications: Prescription bottles and basic over the counter medications, (Advil, aspirin, allergy medicine, antacid, vitamins). Collect them in zipper baggies.
6. Food and Drinks: Bottled water, an ice chest filled with perishables (lunchmeats, cheese, fruits, yogurt, juices)and ice, fill a bag or two (reusable cloth bags) with a few non-perishables like crackers, peanut butter, nuts and seeds.
7. Picnic supplies: paper plates, plastic eating utensils, garbage bags, sharp kitchen knife, zipper baggies.
8. Personal Hygiene Products: Feminine supplies, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap or body wash, shampoo and cream rinse, talcum powder.
9. First Aid Kit: Antibiotic ointment, band aids, gauze, tape, scissors, over the counter medications.
10. Automotive supplies: filled gas can, jugs of water, motor oil, radiator fluid, tire pump, tire sealant spray, jumper cables, tire jack, lug nut wrench, spare tire.
11. Toys and Games: This one may be last on your list of things to grab, especially if you have little time to prepare.
12. Blankets and Pillows: This one may also be eliminated from the list when time is extremely tight. However, if possible, these could bring a measure of comfort or stability to your family during stressful times, especially if you have young children.
Living in Disaster Prone Areas
For those people living in disaster prone areas – places hit regularly with tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes – can prepare by creating disaster packs. Disaster packs provide a way to collect all, or most of these things, in one place so they can be grabbed up and loaded in the car in a hurry, saving valuable time when implementing the evacuation plan. Depending on how much needs to be collected and loaded, the items can be stored ahead of time in backpacks, boxes, reusable bags, or even a large, clean, covered garbage can.
· Backpacks: Clothing and hygiene products; may need to be changed out periodically for growing children.
· Boxes: Collect documents and photos, picnic supplies, blankets and pillows, first aid kit, toys and games, water bottles,
· Reusable Cloth Bags: Picnic supplies, toys and games, first aid kit, nonperishable foods.
· Large, Plastic, Garbage Can with Lid: blankets and pillows, auto supplies, pack all papers, documents and photos, laptop computer and attachments (thumb drive, battery charger, mouse, wifi connection), survival gear.
Keep these packs in a central location so that everyone knows where they are and can help load up the car when the evacuation call comes. Of course, when you’re in a hurry, and stressed out to the max, something will always be forgotten. But, hopefully you will have been able to save the things you value most.
Published in: Emergency Preparation